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  • FIRST POST
    • Muppet81
    • By Muppet81 8th Aug 11, 11:33 AM
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    Muppet81
    The Cost of Funerals
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 11, 11:33 AM
    The Cost of Funerals 8th Aug 11 at 11:33 AM
    Not sure if this is the right part of the Forum for this subject but as we all tend to touched by death at some stage I felt I wanted to alert you to something I recently discovered regarding funeral costs.

    We have just had to arrange the funeral for my MIL. We went to the funeral directors and they explained the costs involved in the funeral and they were several thousand and the sky was the limit if you wanted lots of extras.

    My husband used to in charge of Parks and Cemeteries for a Local Authority and he rememebered that, some years ago, ALL local councils had been made to offer a Municipal funeral. This was to be a low cost, standardised but dignified funeral provided by whichever local funeral director won the tendering process. If you look on your Local Authorities website you should be able to find who won the tender in your area or just ask any funeral director you find in the telephone book. Hopefully they would tell you.

    The FD we went to initially had won this tender and was offering the Municipal funeral at a fixed fee of 800 but they had not mentioned it as an option until we asked them. They made it sound as though we were wanting to put Mum into a paupers grave the way they used the words "Municipal Funeral".

    I asked them what the difference was between the funeral at a few thousand and the one at 800 and they admitted NONE!
    Same things, same cars, same people.
    Collection of the deceased from within the Borough or a 10 mile radius
    Embalming, dressing and a place in the chapel of rest with normal veiwing facilities
    All arrangements at cemetery
    A hearse and 1 car
    The funeral service
    a cherry coffin with engraved nameplate, handles and lining
    transport of the deceased and immediate family to church or chapel prior to burial or cremation
    The only additional fees are doctors fees and burial or cremation fees and the vicar but this was the case with the expensive option too.

    We opted for this option and it was a lovely and dignified funeral. The funeral directors staff were lovely and did not do anything in a rush or a disrespectful way. It WAS the same as we would have got if we had paid thousands.

    Don't let yourself be bamboozled into thinking you have to spend thousands at a sad time.

    They are preying on people's grief and the feeling that you have to do the best for the deceased loved one out of respect. We are delighted that we can now spend the money we did not spend on the funeral on a nice headstone instead. Something the family can visit and appreciate in the future instead of lining the pockets of the Funeral Directors unecessarily.
    Thank you for this site Now OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
Page 1
  • notatvstar
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 11, 12:16 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 11, 12:16 PM
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum
    • lollyfin
    • By lollyfin 8th Aug 11, 12:38 PM
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    lollyfin
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 11, 12:38 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 11, 12:38 PM
    Thank you for your post Muppet and I am sorry for your loss
    this is something I will have to tell my parents about (both retired) as they have spoken about making sure they have money kept for the cost of their funerals. I would rather they spent and enjoyed the money they have while they are here rather than putting money away and doing without
    • Justamum
    • By Justamum 8th Aug 11, 1:02 PM
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    Justamum
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:02 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:02 PM

    We have just had to arrange the funeral for my MIL. We went to the funeral directors and they explained the costs involved in the funeral and they were several thousand and the sky was the limit if you wanted lots of extras.
    Originally posted by Muppet81
    Sorry to hear of your loss. My MIL died in early June. She was living in South Africa, and I don't think it was astronomical (we have to wait for the executor to deal with all the estate before we find out though).

    Out of interest, how many thousands did they want originally?

    • Justamum
    • By Justamum 8th Aug 11, 1:04 PM
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    Justamum
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:04 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:04 PM
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum
    Originally posted by notatvstar
    I'm so sorry to hear that - you shouldn't have to bury your children. It's appalling that funeral directors charge so much that they can end up putting people in poverty. Is there any way your BF's mum could get a hardship grant/loan from the DSS?

  • anguk
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:22 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 11, 1:22 PM
    Sorry to hear of your loss and thanks for the information. I've had a look at my councils website and it says municipal funerals are only for people who have no relatives?

    The price of funerals is scandalous and I think there should be a simple basic funeral package available to all at a fixed price.
    Dum Spiro Spero
  • MrsE
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 11, 2:06 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 11, 2:06 PM
    If you look on your Local Authorities website you should be able to find who won the tender in your area or just ask any funeral director you find in the telephone book. Hopefully they would tell you..
    Originally posted by Muppet81
    I looked on west Sussex LA website (my mums council) & I can't find anything about "municipal funerals" at all.
    • Seakay
    • By Seakay 8th Aug 11, 2:14 PM
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    Seakay
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 11, 2:14 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 11, 2:14 PM
    Thank you for this information - I had no idea about it at all. Obviously costs vary, but at least you can find out in advance. This is the Cardiff list, unchanged since 2009:
    Cardiff Councils Bereavement Services Division pride themselves on offering a dignified service at a reasonable cost:
    A standard funeral including burial and the purchase of a new grave costs 1,591
    A standard funeral including a burial in an existing grave costs 1,045
    A burial service at either of the chapels at Thornhill costs 72
    A standard funeral including a cremation and a service in the chapel costs 1,102
    Since its launch in 1992, over 2000 funerals have taken place under this contract
    The costs of floral tributes, clergy, church fees and obituary notices are not included in the above costs but can be included at an additional cost if required.
    Please note that this service is only available where the deceased is a resident of Cardiff and the funeral will take place in a cemetery or crematorium operated by Bereavement Services.
    • Muppet81
    • By Muppet81 9th Aug 11, 3:17 PM
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    Muppet81
    • #9
    • 9th Aug 11, 3:17 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Aug 11, 3:17 PM
    Sorry to hear of your loss. My MIL died in early June. She was living in South Africa, and I don't think it was astronomical (we have to wait for the executor to deal with all the estate before we find out though).

    Out of interest, how many thousands did they want originally?
    Originally posted by Justamum
    We were looking at a start price of 2000 ish but it quickly beagn to rise towards 3000 and there were still the costs to add such as the Crem or burial, the vicar etc.
    Last edited by Muppet81; 09-08-2011 at 3:27 PM.
    Thank you for this site Now OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
    • Muppet81
    • By Muppet81 9th Aug 11, 3:20 PM
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    Muppet81
    Sorry to hear of your loss and thanks for the information. I've had a look at my councils website and it says municipal funerals are only for people who have no relatives?

    The price of funerals is scandalous and I think there should be a simple basic funeral package available to all at a fixed price.
    Originally posted by anguk
    Unless your Council tendered on a different basis .... I think this may be clever wording. It mentioned on the one for our local council that these were suitable for people with no relatives but not exclusivly so.

    I would say ASK! You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
    Thank you for this site Now OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
    • Muppet81
    • By Muppet81 9th Aug 11, 3:26 PM
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    Muppet81
    It is interesting to see that different Councils are different amounts. Clearly the result of the tendering process.

    I think the thing that you can be sure of is that it will be cheaper than if you don't ask. They sure as heck won't tell you.

    Perhaps some Councils do not actually offer a Municipal Funeral but I would suggest ringing the Cemeteries Dept of your Coucil and asking, even if you can't find mention of it on a website.

    Perhaps an idea to do it now, even though not needed. Believe me, when the actual time comes, it is the last thing you want to be doing.

    I know none of us like thinking about death and funerals but a few phone calls when you are not distraught could make life a lot easier at some time in the future.

    Like the Boy Scouts .... be prepared.
    Thank you for this site Now OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
    • Justamum
    • By Justamum 9th Aug 11, 6:09 PM
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    Justamum
    We were looking at a start price of 2000 ish but it quickly beagn to rise towards 3000 and there were still the costs to add such as the Crem or burial, the vicar etc.
    Originally posted by Muppet81
    Strewth!

    When I go I want it to be as cheap as possible - a cardboard box and cremation. No need for a ceremony. I bet that will still have the kerching of the till for the undertakers though

    • Barneysmom
    • By Barneysmom 9th Aug 11, 6:17 PM
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    Barneysmom
    I'm sorry for your loss Op, your information will be a help to many people I'm sure.

    My parents have been paying into their funeral plan for I reckon 25 years, they must have paid well over the odds by now.
    It makes practical sense for those left behind to have as low a cost funeral as possibel I think?
  • valk_scot
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum
    Originally posted by notatvstar
    I know that this won't help your MIL but many of the old school undertakers, usually the family firms, don't charge for children's funerals. We found this out when we went to our local undertakers to help arrange a funeral for a 7 year old relative. We went through the fairly straightforwards arrangements and then asked for the final total...and it was gently pointed out to us that in such a sad situation it was a matter of professional courtesy not to make a charge. Later I noticed it said this at the bottom of the price guide displayed discretely in the window so it wan't just for us. We still had to pay the cost of the minister, the funeral tea, crematorium costs and flowers but everything that the undertaker provided cost absolutely nothing. It was a very memorably kind deed at a bad time and I remember it very clearly.
    Val.
  • notatvstar
    Many thanks for everybody being so kind. I'm afraid I didn't really express myself appropriately. The Boyf's bro was only 2 years younger than him, but OH always called him his 'little brother'...

    Yes - (F)MIL has just applied for a grant, but she's taken about 2 months to fill out the form. We're not confident that she's filled out the form correctly so we're not sure if the money is going to come through. She wanted to do it - so we had to let her. He was her son afterall.

    I may have alluded to in other posts, but the OH is debt ridden so he can't help her either. He, like his Mother, has refused financial help from me and my Mum. I think the grand total is about 3000. We managed to keep costs down as me and my Mum cooked all the food for the funeral (It was a massive turn-out - the family are from a highland village and the whole village came and I bought and arranged all the flowers.

    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 10th Aug 11, 7:59 AM
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    GreyQueen
    Such a sad subject but one that the majority of us will have to engage with in the fullness of time, when were are distressed and least able to cope.

    I would suggest that a person in this situation call their local authority's bereavement service for advice. There are statutory duties on local authorities in this delicate matter, if there are no next-of-kin, or there is no one able to help.

    There is help with funeral costs available from the DWP for those on benefits.

    Every lending library should have a copy of a highly-recommended book called "What to do when someone dies" and you can also buy it, of course.

    Please don't forget that you can go to your CAB for assistance about this and many many other matters.

    Sincere condolences to those posters who have been bereaved.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
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    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

  • debtdesperado
    I think it is a disgrace the way that funerals are charged...the funeral parlours and crematoriums are all in it together.

    My parent's neighbour's husband died, and his express wishes were that his funeral was arranged as cheaply as possible, and then that his widow went on holiday with the spare money. So she got a cardboard coffin (not really cardboard, but this is how they refer to them), no flowers, no cars etc but it turned out that the nearest crematorium refused to let anything other than an undertaker's black limousine pull up to it. She had planned to take him in his work van, which was something he always said that he wanted. This is a crematorium which is deep in the woods, no one would see other than the mourners, and they all knew his wishes...but she would have had to pay hundreds for the cars at the crematorium's insistence.

    Eventually she found another crematorium with no such restrictions, and it all went ahead as planned, with many wry smiles when his old van pulled up.

    I do think that undertakers play on this thing about 'dignity' and do everything they can to equate it with 'expense'. Personally I would far rather that my loved ones benefitted from whatever money I left, rather than an undertakers.
    • charlies-aunt
    • By charlies-aunt 12th Aug 11, 4:39 PM
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    charlies-aunt
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. This was an excellent post. Unfortunately my boyf's little bro passed away in June and so I wish I had known this sooner. Boyf's Mum has got the funeral bill and she can't pay it. She's refusing any offers of help from me or my Mum
    Originally posted by notatvstar
    I'm sorry for your loss, its so sad - I would like to comment that my DH works for a FD. At 'his' firm, all children [17 and under] funerals are done free of charge - the family pay for the fees charged by the crem or church - FD provide collection & preparation of the body, the coffin and cars.

    In this area, if the surviving family are unable to pay, either the council or hospital pay for a basic funeral - although any assets left by the deceased are claimed and sold by council/hospital authorities to offset the cost - which sadly includes any personal jewellery.

    Everyone is treated with dignity and respect - whether the funeral is 'basic', free or expensive. We live in high unemployment area and 'his' firm of FD keep the costs as low as they can but they are unable to absorb the rising costs of doctors certifying, church and crem fees.

    If possible - its good to get your affairs in order and do a prepayment plan as it saves a lot of stress and distress at the time.

    "Cardboard" coffins are not a cheap option - they are more expensive than a plain coffin.

    If they had wanted to use his work van here - it wouldn't have been a problem as it would have been in accordance with his last wishes. Sounds like the FD there was trying to be greedy
    Last edited by charlies-aunt; 12-08-2011 at 4:46 PM.
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    • Muppet81
    • By Muppet81 31st Aug 11, 7:54 PM
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    Muppet81
    Thank you to all who have responded to my original post and added some very interesting thought and observations..

    Charlies-aunt ..... I hope I have not given the impression that I felt the FDs involved showed less than the appropriate dignity and respect. They were really kind and helpful in so many ways and everyone commented on how lovely the whole event was (for a funeral). It was just the fact that they did not offer the option of a Municipal funeral until they had to.

    The last thing I want to do is run down those who do a job not many of us would want to and do it very well. I just wanted to let anyone reading the post know that there are options and to investigate them all, ideally before you are caught up in the grief of losing a loved one.

    Hope all of you who replied are now picking up the pieces and moving forward to happier times.
    Thank you for this site Now OH and I are both retired, MSE is a Godsend
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 31st Aug 11, 8:47 PM
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    Jojo the Tightfisted
    Interesting. The local council says that social services may help if nobody else is interested but they will claim against the estate, as long as nobody tries to make any arrangements before contacting them. The local funeral directors say mourners are not permitted at their cheap/basics/simple funerals and nobody may view the body at all. And the disbursements are extra. Minimum is 800 plus all doctor, crem, church, priest, fees, etc.
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